Story and Photos by Jacynth Serrano Rodriguez
Styled by Solleyha Mathurin
Long before Beyonce or even Tina Turner there was Josephine Baker, the first Black Female Superstar. Baker was born June 3, 1906 in St. Louise, Missouri and would become one of the most famous expats in history. Baker was a singer/dancer-turned-activist who left the United States, disappointed with its racial climate, and escaped to the grandeur and mesmerization of France.
Today, we honor Josephine for her luxurious taste, her unapologetic ‘black girl magic’ and her way of using her sexuality and power on her own terms– something the United States couldn’t understand and France couldn’t get enough of in the 1920’s.
GET THE LOOK
As much of an iconic in her day as she is today, Josephine Baker’s slicked down to the skull 1920’s do was all the rage in France. There were whole articles discussing whether or not her hair was painted on. To modernize her sexy slicked back look, try a super high ponytail, think Zendaya at the 2017 Kids Choice Awards.
Like many other things, when it came to glitz and glam, Ms. Baker was never shy. With the Art Deco movement in full swing, Josephine could be seen sporting huge knocker ears and ornate hairpieces covered in gems. To show your love for all things glittery, you can pick up a trendy gem choker and/or body chain.
Josephine was a woman in touch with and in control of her sexuality. She danced some acts nearly nude and famously rocked a banana skirt (now an iconic look among pop stars, ie. Diana Ross, Beyonce, Miley Cyrus). Unashamed and unapologetically, Josephine said, “I wasn’t really naked. I simply didn’t have any clothes on.”
Now you obviously can’t be that brazen on most occasions, but you can be sexy on your own more modest terms. A plunge neckline body suit is a creative way to show some skin and some confidence. You can keep it casual with a pair of distressed boyfriend jeans or if you want to walk on the wild side, like our girl Josephine always preferred, you can DIY this cage skirt with a trusty hot glue gun and some goodies from your local Joann Fabric.
Opt for a strappy shoe to complete your look, whether it’s a lace up heeled sandal or simple gladitors.
At one point being the most photographed and most famous women in the world, Josephine Baker made the world respect and love her but she never took herself too seriously, “Beautiful? It’s all a question of luck. I was born with good legs. As for the rest…beautiful, no. Amusing, yes.”